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Journalist Calls for Accountability in Police Killings

Although the Federal Bureau of Investigation tracks how many police officers die in the line of duty, it keeps no such record for how many civilians are killed by police each year. Some indication of the magnitude of civilian deaths comes from Los Angeles county, however. From 2007-2013, officers killed an average of 41 people each year.   Recognizing a significant gap in the public records of civilian deaths at the hands of law enforcement officers, D. Brian Burghart, the editor of the Reno News & Review and a journalism instructor at University of Nevada, decided to create a public database. “In 2014, how could we not know how many people our government kills on our streets every year,” he wondered. And he launched Fatal Encounters, a web site that, as Bethania Palma Markus reports for Truth-out, “tracks and tallies when cops take lives” and “invites the public to help build the database.” Burghart has compiled a list of police agencies across the country to facilitate public record requests about fatal incidents.

Source: Bethania Palma Markus, “Journalist Calls for Accountability in Police Killings,” Truth Out, March 18, 2014,

Student Researcher: Shasha-Gaye Santiago (Indian River State College)

Faculty Evaluator: Elliot D. Cohen (Indian River State College)

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